How leaders breached rules on lawsuits with impunity
Article 21A (x) of the 2014 Constitution of the All Progressives Congress APC (as amended) states: “Filing an action in a Court of Law against the Party or any of its Officers on any matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the Party without first exhausting all avenues for redress provided for in this Constitution” is an offence. Article 21D (v) of the same Constitution provides the punishment thus: “Any member who files an action in court of law against the Party or any of its officers on any matter or matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the Party without first exhausting the avenues for redress provided for in this Constitution shall automatically stand expelled from the Party on filing such action and no appeal against expulsion as stipulated in this Clause shall be entertained until the withdrawal of the action from Court by the Member”.
From the above, it is pertinent to state that most of the major disputants in the current crisis of leadership in the APC should have been expelled were these constitutional provisions followed stricto senso. For all it is worth, the APC is busting at its seams due to the various court cases against it by its own members. Those cases hanged over its neck like the Sword of Damocles. There were, at the last count, no fewer than 11 cases instituted at the High Court and Court of Appeal on the APC crisis. The multiplicity of the cases and the chaos they were causing were the reasons adduced by the National Executive Committee (NEC) in dissolving the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling party at the federal level, last week. For instance, a factional Deputy State Chairman of the party in Edo State, Kenneth Asekomhe, and one of the governorship aspirants of the party, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Benin early in June against the direct primary method adopted by the now dissolved NWC. Before then, the party had had to contend with several lawsuits in March. Prominent among them was the suit instituted by the National Vice Chairman, North East of the party, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, against the National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala; National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa Onilu, acting National Secretary, Arc. Waziri Bulama, and the APC itself.
The suit was to make the Deputy National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, acting National Chairman. So, on March 16, the Federal Capital Territory FCT High Court granted an interim injunction allowing Giadom to function undisturbed in the said capacity. The suit had originated from another which had suspended Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as National Chairman and, with no substantive Deputy National Chairman (South) who automatically should have stepped into Oshiomhole in place as the occupant, Mr Segun Oni, who had resigned to contest Ekiti State governorship election, had not been effectively replaced by Senator Abiola Ajimobi while there was no substantive National Secretary, the suit had prayed Giadom was the next in rank to assume office as acting National Chairman Meanwhile, earlier on March 5, one Mohammed Rabiu was at the Federal High Court in Kano to challenge the order of the FCT High Court which suspended Oshiomhole. Rabiu got an interim order from Justice Lewis Allagoa asking the party to maintain the status quo before the said suspension. Days later, precisely on March 13, the Chairman of the APC in Lagos State, Tunde Balogun, secured a restraining order of the Federal High Court in Lagos against the NEC of the party. The order restrained the proposed March 17 NEC meeting of the ruling party from disturbing the acting National Secretary, Bulama; Ajimobi, acting Deputy National Chairman (South), and National Auditor, Paul Chukwuma, from discharging their mandates. The said order affirmed the appointment of Ajimobi as acting Deputy National Chairman, South. On the same day, National Vice Chairman, North-West of the APC, Inuwa Abdulkadir, got an order from a High Court in Sokoto which restrained the party from appointing or electing Issa-Onilu or any member into its top positions except through the party’s National Convention.